new contemporary art

Ciou Brings Her "Cute and Scary" To Cotton Candy Machine

Cotton Candy Machine's gallery was packed last Saturday with folks eager to see the new exhibition featuring artists Ciou, Malojo, and Dima Drjuchin. Ciou made the journey all the way from her home in Toulouse for the event.

It's difficult to put into words the intricate beauty and detail that fill Ciou's mixed media works. You first may notice the doe-eyed girls accompanied by curious creatures - some with one eye, some with two eyes, while others have three.

 

Look a little longer and you'll start to make out the mesmerizing tattoo-like designs that adorn the girls' bodies along with the lively, colorful patterns that take the place of animal fur and scaly skin. These inhabitants of Ciou's "cute and scary" worlds are set against a backdrop of vintage texts that she has carefully selected.

Ciou was very excited at the opening and Cotton Candy Machine for a number of reasons. While she has exhibited at Cotton Candy Machine before, this marked her first time actually visiting New York City, and she was looking forward to hitting the museums, meeting other artists, and going to Coney Island.

The exhibition is rounded out with works by Malojo and Dima Drjuchin. Originally from Bayonne, Malojo made the journey with Ciou from Toulouse. Composed of varying shades of white, blue, and red on grayish paper, his captivating drawings look like reliefs that have been carved from stone. His influences range from comics and Walt Disney to Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch. Dima Drjuchin is a Brooklyn based painter and musician. His paintings appropriate familiar imagery such as the pyramid, heart, and wings to create "the new Incarnated Symbols of the Multiverse."

The exhibition is on view through May 4th. Be sure to stop by if you are in the NYC area.

AFA: A Lesson in the History of Pop Culture Art

AFA (Animazing Fine Art) in Soho is a much welcomed exhibition space amidst New York City's sea of cold, white cube galleries.  We stopped in this past weekend to check out artist Bill Carmen's new show "Foibled," which presents a collection of smallish-scale paintings on wood and copper.  The images are rich with detail, fantastical and dark, and often present humans and imaginative creatures stuck in sticky situations.  Favorites included Narbombs and Beeprepared.

The gallery is very big and "Foibled" is being presented in conjunction with a second  show titled "2013 Collector's Group Exhibition."  You don't have to look very far to realize that something very special is happening on the rest of the walls at AFA.  Big names of the new contemporary art movement such as Joe Sorren, Travis Louie, Nicolette Ceccoli, Kathy Olivia, and Kukula are paired with masters of illustration Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, Charles M. Shulz, and Bill Watterson.  

We are presented with a delightful history lesson on Pop Culture Art as told by the movement's most original and entertaining voices.  Original drawings from "Peanuts," "Calvin and Hobbs," "Where the Wild Things Are," and "Green Eggs and Ham" evoke nostalgic memories from childhood when we would lose ourselves in these short stories filled with unforgettable characters and lessons learned.

It is most interesting to see how the dialogue between popular culture and art has shaped and shifted between generations.  The linear, simply colored, and often humorous earlier works on paper give way to dark, surrealistic paintings rich in detail and color.  A constant remains, however, between past and present.  All of these artists have created art that speaks to the everyday lives, interests, and concerns of their audience at the time of production.

AFA is located at 54 Greene Street (at Broome) in the Soho neighborhood of New York City.